Standard Life has posted a 51 per cent rise in first-half profit – boosted by one-off gains from a deal to reinsure annuity liabilities and reduce the financial risk posed by Britons living longer.
The British life insurer also said that, despite difficult market conditions, the outlook for its net flows, sales and profitability remained positive.
The firm, one of the most exposed insurers to UK wealth management which has been hit by a downturn in consumer sentiment, said operating profit, on an embedded value basis, totalled £534 million in the six months.
Eight analysts had forecast operating profit of £525 million, with estimates ranging from £514 million to £595 million.
The former mutual insurer said it would pay an interim dividend of 4.07 pence a share, up seven per cent on the year.
Standard Life, previously the UK insurer with the largest exposure to longevity risk, said in February it had signed a deal with Canada Life, a unit of Great-West Lifeco to reinsure £6.7 billion of its annuity liabilities.Life and pension sales on a present value of new business premiums (PVNBP) basis rose five per cent to £9.1 billion and its new business contribution rose four per cent to £157 million.
Standard Life said reduced market values were depressing income transfers to self-invested personal pensions (SIPP) and group schemes, but that it had a number of enhancements planned for the second half to boost its SIPP proposition.